In the brief 36 hours since I returned from the amazing experience that was the 2012 Elle Style Awards, I’ve been inundated with requests for my photos and details. But how do you put into words something as amazing as seeing and meeting huge stars, sampling amazing food, and watching your favourite celebs interact with one another and the general public? It’s taken a bit of time to digest the experience, but now I’ve had a bit of sleep and a good look through my pictures, I am able to present a synopsis of an incredible evening.
I won’t bore you with the details of the “getting ready” stage of my day, but suffice to say, the end result of hours of primping wasn’t as impressive as I had hoped. Due to horrendous tan lines from my recent Caribbean cruise, I was forced to use fake tan to even my skin. The result is that I look ridiculous in the majority of my photos. Ah well!
I left home around 5:30 and got a train in to London Paddington, where I met the lovely and amazing Annie Bean, my fellow ticket winner. She and I froze ourselves silly as we quickly found a taxi and directed him to the Savoy Hotel. Annie proceeded to strip down to the bare essentials of her outfit, and attempted to fluff up her already glam hair, as we discussed the plan for the evening. We solemnly pinky swore to one another that we would NOT let the other one look anything less than her best for the whole night. We promised to tell one another if hair, makeup, or clothing became even remotely disheveled.
Upon entering the hotel, EVERYONE was on high alert for the show. We were meant to be meeting the gals from Next at 7:00 in the Beaufort Bar in the hotel. We first ran to the ladies room so that we could check makeup, clothes and hair. After ensuring all was well, we headed to the bar. Unfortunately the Next gals were stuck in traffic, and Anna and I were sat at the bar, not ordering a drink, probably looking like a couple of prostitutes.
Eventually we got tired of waiting at the bar and made our way down to nearer the awards. After checking our names on the guest list (since the Next girls had our tickets), we were allowed downstairs. But we didn’t feel confident enough to go into the party, so we instead waited outside and watched the celebs going past.
At this point, I must admit that the fab Anna was a lifesaver. As a mamma, the only TV I watch these days comes on channel 614 – CBeebies! So we felt a bit like The Devil Wears Prada when Anna would lean over and whisper into my ear letting me know who each celebrity was. While I might have recognised them, I had no names for the faces, and she helped me to figure out why I should be impressed.
Finally the Next gals, Ellie and Vicky, arrived and we all went in to the champagne reception, ogling the faces around us. Though cameras were allowed, I think Anna and I both felt slightly weird about getting them out, and so we don’t have a lot of photos of this part.
Because we were later getting in, we didn’t spend long in the reception area, and when dinner was announced, we headed upstairs to find our table. On the way, I kept my camera handy and when we bumped into Dizzee Rascal, I quickly asked if he minded getting a photo with me. He was absolutely kind and happily posed, looking incredibly dapper in his blue suit. Throughout the evening, I actually managed to get photos with four celebrities, a feat I am very proud of.
The dinner itself was AMAZING. Truly, I have never feasted on such amazing food. I was able to steal the menu so that I could relate exactly what it was we ate.
Marinated beetroot carpaccio with goat cheese and rocket maki roll, chunky avocado, pickled ginger and mustard dressing
Roasted corn fed chicken with a camomile and chive crust, mashed potatoes, sauteed kale, baby carrots and lemon-thyme jus
Apple tart tatin served with mixed berries and vanilla ice cream
And then a selection of petit fours and coffee to wash it all down.
And all during the dinner/awards, there was lovely wine flowing. I think the grand total of alcohol imbibed was thus:
3 x large champagnes
4 x glass of white
1 x glass of red
3 x amazing cocktail, the name of which escapes me.
Obviously we kept a look out for the various celebrities in the room, and if my camera had been a little better, I’d have got some truly astounding shots. But as it was a lot of what I got was grainy and hard to recognise. But I did try to capture as much as I could.
After supper, the gorgeous and amazingly talented Emeli Sande took the stage to perform two of her songs.
And then it was time for the awards. Our host was Alexa Chung, who suggested a drinking game for the audience. Every time you hear “Elle,” “Style,” or “Beautiful,” you should have a sip of wine…
To make it easier to digest, I’ve gone ahead and put them in the same order we saw them happen. If you want to see the video highlights, head over to the Elle site and see them there.
Interestingly, after presenting the award, Anil Kapoor decided to bring a bit of Bollywood to the stage by doing a little dance with Alexa Chung.
This was probably my favourite award of the night for sheer hilarity. Firstly, Cuba Gooding Jr let off a foul-mouthed tirade at the audience for his observation that no one was playing Alexa’s proposed drinking game. He proceeded to drink loads of wine before telling the audience we should “go fuck yourselves.” He then giggled as he swore he’d never be invited back…
He then announced the lovely Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as the award winner, and her acceptance speech also had me feeling uncomfortable yet amused. She seemed to hold a grudge against Elle and suggested it was pretty interesting that she’d been given a Style Icon award when, at the age of 15, she’d approached the Elle offices and been rejected because of her braces and pimples… She then seemed to realise that she should probably be more gracious, and she accepted the award and left.
And then the awards were through. Once again, we made our way out of the room and into the area the after party was being held. Once again, Emeli Sande took the stage, this time with Professor Green in tow and proceeded to perform another couple of songs.
The rest of the evening involved trying to identify celebs whilst dancing, drinking and having fun. I ran into Anil Kapoor on the dance floor, while Christina Hendricks sat next to us with her husband as we rested our feet at one point. Tali Lennox we found in the ladies toilets when we went to freshen up our makeup, and the cheeky Annie Bean MAY have slipped her her card and told her to visit her blog. I settled for getting her twitter handle.
We did feel slightly let down at the end of the night, though… we noticed everyone seemed to be walking around with goody bags, and we went off in search of one for ourselves. But alas, we were too late. No one had told us about them in time, so by the time we found out where they were, they were all out. The gals at Next swore they’d send us each one by post, but my somewhat pessimistic world outlook makes me wonder if it’ll actually happen. We shall have to wait and see, eh!
Anyway, the final bit of the evening was finding out that though the party was meant to go until 2 AM, everyone was leaving at 1! I had to call my local taxi company and ask them to come early. Unfortunately, I had over an hour of waiting out in the cold before they arrived, and they didn’t even come to the right place! I had to be escorted back through the hotel by security so that I could find my lift.
But it did give me an ideal opportunity to observe the various celebs as they left. I spent 10 minutes standing next to Pixie Geldof, Louise Gray, and random other famous folk who were smoking outside whilst cavorting around with one another. And I witnessed Laura Carmichael stumble off the curb from 2 feet away, an incident the Daily Mail felt the need to report.
Eventually, my taxi arrived, after I’d outstayed most every celeb there, and I was ferried home to see my boys.
All in all, it was a terrific evening that I shall not soon forget.
Thank you so much to the lovely Ellie, Vicki, Laura Janssen, and the inimitable Anna for your great company.
If you are interested in seeing ALL the pics from the night, unedited, please head on over to the public gallery on Facebook.